Win the Grocery Battle!

by Gina Blitstein · 0 comments

I am a frugal shopper. It’s in my blood. I think of shopping — especially for groceries — as a battle between myself and the store. The store’s ‘weapons’ are their prices and marketing tactics; mine are my sound judgement and experience. The outcome of the battle is determined when I step up to the checkout. The more money that stays in my pocket, the better my performance on the battlefield. When I walk out of the store feeling like I got what I needed at the best possible pricing, I feel have won the grocery battle.

Since you can’t fight a battle without knowing what you’re up against, let’s explore the obstacles we as shoppers face and how a store seeks to raise as many of them as possible to lower our ability to wage an effective saving strategy.

Specifically, what tactics does a store employ to get more of your money — and how can you counter them?

  • Temptation: Grocery stores appeal to as many of your senses as possible. You are hit with the aroma of roast turkey, cookies or fresh-baked bread the moment you enter. Many times there are tastings around the store that further whet your appetite, making it more likely that you’ll buy something tasty (but not on your list) on impulse. In addition, attractive and appealing displays tempt us to buy more and different items than we intend to.

Battle it: Make a comprehensive list of the items you need and the sale items you want to stock up on. Eat something satisfying and be sure you’re well hydrated before grocery shopping. You’ll be better able to resist temptation when you have a battle plan in place.

  • Distraction: Grocery stores are adept at distracting you from your mission with shear overwhelming choice and a generally non-intuitive layout.

Battle it: Develop a focused shopping mindset. Stick to your saving plan. Learn your store’s layout to avoid needless wandering.

  • Convoluted pricing: Often a sale price isn’t the cheapest price on that item. The price ‘seems’ low so the store bets that we’ll fall for the trick and buy it.

Battle it: Check the per-unit price against other sizes of the same product to make sure you get the best deal. Most importantly, know your prices inside and out — just because they say it’s ‘on sale’ doesn’t mean it wasn’t cheaper a couple weeks ago or won’t be cheaper in a couple weeks. Remain aware of what constitutes a bargain so when you see one, you can take advantage of it.

  • Sense of urgency: Stores are set up so that you’ll feel the need to zip in, grab some merchandise and go, rather than take your time and systematically make wise shopping decisions.

Battle it: Most of your shopping should be done at home where you’re relaxed and grounded as you compile your list, check the store ad for bargains and match up coupons with the items you intend to buy. Once in the store, shop at a determined yet sane pace. When you rush your decision-making, you’re bound to make less-sound choices.

Winning at the shopping battle comes down to preparation. The time you invest in shopping prep will prove well spent when you arrive at the checkout. The better prepared you are as a shopper when you set foot in that store, the more weapons and tactics you’ll have at your disposal for maximizing your savings. Don’t be a victim in the marketplace. It’s your money — don’t let the store take it from you without a fight!

How do you fight — and win — the grocery battle?

Bonus Tip:

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